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Tuesday 11 21

USDA Organic

Did you know that we are USDA Certified Organic? Well, yup, we sure are. Have been since 2011. What does that mean? Well, the gist of it is that we have undergone inspection and auditing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and maintain rigorous record keeping, and documentation to prove that we grow our produce without the use of harsh chemicals. To get the full explanation check it out here.

What this means for our products is that they can sport the familiar circle shaped ‘USDA ORGANIC’ label assuring consumers that the product is in fact organic. For us, that is the main reason we pursue organic certification. We want to be able to use the word organic (you can sure get in some trouble if you use that word in the wrong context!) and we want our customers to quickly identify our products as such.

Since Rendezvous’ establishment in 2007 we have been doing things ‘organically’ we decided to go for certification in 2011 when our production picked up and our market expanded. Many local farms are growing organic and have not pursued organic certification for many reasons. Perhaps the costs are too great (there are a good amount of fees involved), the record keeping too time consuming or the standards different from their growing practices. If you have any questions about the organic process and status of our products, please contact us or come and visit- we’d be happy to show you our farm.

Does Organic Taste Better?

At Rendezvous Organic Farm we are driven by taste. We try to source out varieties that grow well in our climate and have unique or noticeable flavors.  For instance, we always grow Mokum carrots, an early, sweet variety that is juicy and sugary.  We also grow the earthy, large storage carrot, Danvers in order to have some later season carrots to compliment the fall harvest! We cultivate about 20 varieties of heirloom tomatoes for the same reason- we want a wide array of flavors, textures and tomato experiences. Of course, everything we grow we grow organically.

While ‘organic’ has countless environmental, and social benefits perhaps the most undeniable benefit is the robust flavor of organic food. I believe it to be a simple fact that organic food grown right taste amazing. Of course, I challenge you to perform some taste tests of your own, and come to your own conclusions. Check out this hilarious, not very scientific, but pretty adorable video in which Hammy the hamster chooses organic (most of the time). Watch the video >

Foods that retain high amounts of pesticides are usually foods that are heavily treated, and have high fat or water content (tree fruits, berries , peppers, potatoes, carrots, celery and leafy greens) These foods, more likely to retain chemicals are more likely to taste like whatever they have been treated with. And conventional foods treated with chemical agents , waxes and other preservatives (cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, apples) are likely to taste like those preservatives even after being washed. No wonder Hammy goes for the organic veggies! He can probably smell traces of foreign chemicals on the conventional produce! Which makes me wonder- if humans could tune into the flavor that chemicals bring to the palate would we choose organic more? Hammy may be driven by instinct and re-enforced by flavor!  How about you?

Chile Peppers for Your Health

With the relatively short growing season we have at 6500ft on the western slope of Colorado, we have to start some of the longer season crops in our propane heated nursery in late winter/early spring. One of those very special crops and a personal favorite of ours is the stunning pepper plant.

Peppers, being in the Solanum family, like a long, hot growing season. We start these guys in our nursery in March. They live in there for a few months until the air and soil temperatures are warm enough to welcome the plants outside, usually around early June after the danger of last frost has passed. Some of our earliest varieties can be harvested green in mid to late August but for a nice red or orange pepper it is a race between the pepper and our first frost of the season, which usually happens in late September/early October.

While there is nothing like a fresh, sweet pepper, we recently have gotten all fired up about hot peppers! Not only are they so tasty, but they are proven to have some amazing health benefits too! Capsaicin (the chemical in hot peppers that creates the heat) is helpful for improving circulation, and regulating blood flow which can strengthen the arteries and potentially reduce the risk of heart attacks. The heat from these peppers can also offer relief from colds, fevers, and sore throats. It can also help regulate cholesterol levels and they are a naturally rich source of calcium and vitamin C.

But that’s not all! There are even recent studies correlating capsaicin to preventative and even curative effects on multiple different kinds of cancer, including stomach, prostate, lung, and skin cancers!

One of the farm managers here, Carter, is really building his tolerance for these hot peppers (mostly because of recently finding out about these beneficial medicinal effects of hot peppers). He eats multiple types each day, raw, and has found them to actually relieve him of heart burn (sounds crazy right? But it's true!) and warm him up on these cool, fall days. Some of our favorite hot peppers we grow are anaheim, serrano, jalapeno, and habanero. But our newest favorite pepper is being grown by one of our neighbor farmers – the trinidad scorpion pepper. This pepper currently holds the world record for hottest pepper on earth!! We got a chance to test this pepper out and it is not for the faint of heart (or mouth)!